Friday, 13 January 2017

“The BBC can’t edit the internet, but we won’t stand aside either”

Oh my! The headline in The Guardian reads:
BBC sets up team to debunk fake news 
And The Guardian goes on to say: 
The BBC is to assemble a team to fact check and debunk deliberately misleading and false stories masquerading as real news. 
Amid growing concern among politicians and news organisations about the impact of false information online, news chief James Harding told staff on Thursday that the BBC would be “weighing in on the battle over lies, distortions and exaggerations”. 
The plans will see the corporation’s Reality Check series become permanent, backed by a dedicated team targeting false stories or facts being shared widely on social media. 
“The BBC can’t edit the internet, but we won’t stand aside either,” Harding said. “We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media. 
Astonishingly, this isn't fake news. I've not made it up. That's a genuine report in the Guardian and the BBC really are going to expand their Reality Check team to monitor social media and debunk 'fake news' stories. 

A couple of tweets from the Spectator's Ed West reflect my take on this:

The BBC has already failed to keep its Reality Check coverage impartial and, as Ed West says, this will surely make impartiality even harder to maintain. And if any media organisation can be accused of regular bias by omission it's the BBC.

The BBC's Reality Check output will have to be monitored even more closely from now on. 


  1. The BBC should clean its own house of fake news before claiming moral authority over others.

  2. The BBC's safe spaces, on social media platforms such as Facebook and twitter, and comment threads where this PR howler is reprinted, are so far not being too kind.

  3. I get the impression that BBC PR has been busy, and most outlets are too lazy to even bother checking themselves:

    1. The McAlpines say hi, BTW. :-

    2. Something tells me the BBC won't be spending much time debunking anything negative about Trump.

    3. It was, of course, a different time

  4. Ed West makes a very strong point. Omission is what people have started to notice with the BBC and other MSM outlets. We saw the 5 day gap before BBC caught up with the more accurate and reliable Breitbart to report events in Cologne on New Year's Eve 2015. We see the way the BBC completely under-reported the attempt on Trump's life by a UK citizen who appears to have been radicalised on the internet by fanatical left wing anti-Trump media outlets (could be you, BBC). Can you imagine how they would have gone to town on that story if it had been an attempt on Clinton's life by a right wing fascist radicalised on the internet? We'd still be hearing about it!

  5. Doesn't anyone at the BBC have a sense of irony?